Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Riots in Paraisópolis, a São Paulo Slum, Made us Remember of Adoniran Barbosa

The military police of São Paulo last night occupied the slum of Paraisópolis, in southern São Paulo, after citizens allegedly protested the death of a 25-year-old drug lord popular in the area. Police repression against drug gangs is heavy-handed in Brazil, as some of you may know.

Following a series of violent attacks by organised crime in May 2006 in the city, South America's largest, the police launched several counter-offensives in which more than 180 people died. Police often conduct raids in Rio de Janeiro shantytowns too in search of drugs, weapons or to capture gang leaders, which (often) result in the deaths of innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.
Anecdotal evidence provided by some newspaper stories showed that two Paraisópolis residents were wounded (one got shot in his chest and shoulder, and the other one on his chest too while returning from work.) Three PMs (military police) were wounded too. Civil unrest in Brazilian favelas is growing, and it doesn't seem that any government wants to seriously deal with this problem at all.

I am not taking sides -- allow me to make that clear. But while reading the stories on the media about Paraisópolis, I began to hum one song by Adoniran Barbosa (photo) that deals with this very serious social problem.
Barbosa was a popular singer and composer in the 1940s through the late 1960s, and is considered as the greatest sambista ever come from São Paulo. Check this link, with a version of Despejo na Favela (1969) (which means ''Slum Eviction´´ in Portuguese language.) The song lyrics follow (they are also in Portuguese.)

DESPEJO NA FAVELA 

QUANDO O OFICIAL DE JUSTIÇA CHEGOU
LÁ NA FAVELA
E CONTRA SEU DESEJO ENTREGOU PRÁ SEU NARCISO
UM AVISO,
UMA ORDEM DE DESPEJO,

ASSINADA: SEU DOUTOR,
ASSIM DIZIA A PETIÇÃO.
DENTRO DE DEZ DIAS QUERO A FAVELA VAZIA
E OS BARRACOS TODOS NO CHÃO,
É UMA ORDEM SUPERIOR

Ô, Ô, Ô, Ô, Ô, MEU SINHÔ,
É UMA ORDEM SUPERIOR

NÃO TEM NADA NÃO, SEU DOUTOR
NÃO TEM NADA NÃO
AMANHÃ MESMO VOU DEIXAR
MEU BARRACÃO
NÃO TEM NADA NÃO, SEU DOUTOR
VOU SAIR DAQUI
PRÁ NÃO OUVIR O RONCO DO TRATOR
PRÁ MIM NÃO TEM PROBREMA
EM QUALQUER CANTO ME ARRUMO
DE QUALQUER JEITO ME AGEITO

DEPOIS,
O QUE EU TENHO É TÃO POUCO,
MINHA MUDANÇA É TÃO PEQUENA
QUE CABE NO BOLSO DE TRÁS

MAS ESSA GENTE AÍ, HEIN?
COMO É QUE FAZ?
Ô, Ô, Ô, Ô, Ô, MEU SINHÔ,
MAS ESSA GENTE AÍ, HEIN?
COMO É QUE FAZ?

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